Issued: 1st March 2012
Today sees the official start of fundraising for The People’s Mosquito project. The People’s Mosquito has a simple vision: to restore a de Havilland DH.98 Mosquito to flying condition and return it to the skies, and fundraising is being kicked-off to help that vision become a reality.
The British-designed de Havilland DH.98 Mosquito was one of the fastest aircraft to fly in WW2, its twin Merlin engines and its lightweight wooden construction enabling it to outrun enemy fighters. It was therefore lightly armed and so could carry a substantial payload. This made it very popular with allied Air Force chiefs and crews alike.
The restoration is likely to take anywhere between five and ten years, depending on funding, sponsorship, availability of parts and manufacturing viability. When the project is complete, a UK-based Mosquito will fly again for the first time in over twenty years – since the tragic demise of the BAe-owned Mosquito T.III at Barton in 1996.
During the Second World War the people of Britain, in factories, organisations and communities, raised funds to purchase and donate aircraft to the Royal Air Force. Using this basic principle we are raising funds through charitable donation and sponsorship to locate, purchase, restore and return a DH.98 Mosquito to the people of the United Kingdom by donating the aircraft to the care of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight so that future generations can marvel at the sight and sound of a warplane which did so much to influence the outcome of WW2. It should be stressed that, as yet, no official agreement has been made between the two organisations, and if for any reason that plan is not workable, then the aircraft will be maintained and operated on an ongoing basis by The People’s Mosquito as a charitable trust. The People’s Mosquito project is currently undertaking steps towards becoming a Registered Charity/Charitable Trust.
The project began life on the social networking site Twitter in the closing days of 2011, when warbird restorer and life-long aviation fanatic John Lilley casually tweeted about his longstanding idea of getting a de Havilland DH.98 Mosquito flying in the UK again.
From Twitter: “Rebuilding a Mosquito and donating it to the UK people has been something I’ve been thinking about doing for a long time” – John Lilley – Founder and Project Lead
The positive response was overwhelming, with general messages of support coming from all over the world and from people from all walks of life. The idea was quickly taken up by other tweeters and it wasn’t long before a founding “Band of 12” had gelled together and transformed into The People’s Mosquito movement. That Band of 12 has now grown to a virtual following of over a thousand, with followers and supporters from around the world on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.
Continuing the new media theme, as the project gathers steam supporters will be encouraged to build a close-up and hands-on relationship with the project. Using webcams, blog posts, video updates and of course social media supporters will be kept abreast of developments as they happen, and when the time is right, the People will be able to get right up close to the aircraft – for many a first-time experience. Tours to manufacturing sites will also be offered.
The individuals behind the People’s Mosquito project all have one thing in common – a passion for aircraft. They are united by a love of aviation history and a desire to see one of the Second World War’s most distinguished aircraft fly again.
Notes to Editors
John Lilley is available for interview/comment. He is, however, currently working in China and therefore an interview would be best done via Skype. Please contact Nick Horrox who will arrange this with John if required.
Contact: Nick Horrox, The People’s Mosquito PR
Mobile: 07966 482770
PLEASE NOTE: As of 5th April we have put donations on hold. We had a lot of comments from people who were uncomfortable with donating via PayPal, on top of which we also had some practical technical problems with that system. We are in the process of setting up a third party donations system and will issue details publicly as soon as that system is up and running. In the mean time, thanks for your patience and your continued support.